Not sure about this New Statesman Tory special. The ten to watch advice to Cameron is thin. Which follower of politics will have learned anything from that? Nadine Dorries will be delighted to be in the same Top Ten as Maggie Thatcher. But I'm sorry this is staggeringly thin gruel. [Empty Calories] Please sir: can I have some more?
Oh alright then. Here are the crumbs of some unenticing linkbait, with added SEO. Paradox to pop them in having shot them down, I know.
Davis | Montgomerie | Clarke | Johnson | Fox | Duncan | Brady | Leigh | Dorries | Thatcher
Mehdi Hasan's blog post Is Andy Coulson a "Tory Liability"? is a bit better.
He quotes some of the "press standards" DCMS report vs Amnesia International and also a slice of the Guardian report on the NOTW/Coulson reverse at the Employment Tribunal on their famous bullying culture.
Then we have three ideas:
There were four comments yesterday. One dissing an alternative to Coulson. Three defending the Con AC or attacking the Labour AC et al. Not getting to the heart of the question(s) in my view. And that, my view, is that unlike our AC who was also previously a tabloid NUJjer Coulson does not get and cannot do impression management or communications strategy.
The whole thing is strident headlines, a few sketches or pictures, and some thin captions. There is no adequate research. No meat to back up the shouty slogans. And no sign whatsoever of due diligence. It's a whinge and a prayer.
In fact it's so bad that at current rate of poll change Gordon Brown's Labour could actually be 6% ahead on polling day. And being looked on as insurgents so sure was the Tory victory.
Here's a mildly tweaked version of my own comment:
It takes an idiot or a smearer to put Alastair Campbell in the same bag as McBride and Draper. Indeed even these two are quite different.
Campbell is a serious political animal who is relentlessly interested in the politics, the policies, the ideas, the offer and purpose of the different parties.
Head and shoulders above McBride. Who is of course a Labourist but very different.
Coulson's behaviour since getting the CCHQ role - enormously overpaid btw - is not particularly well documented is it?
But between him and Hilton and flim flam man Cameron, we must assume, there is the direction of a spin and spiel operation that is clearly very very dishonest. And more than a little bit nasty.
Tories ain't on any kind of message and communications high ground.
Just a few examples:
1. Sam Cam's ordinary dress for conference. Actually procured at enormous expense in time, which is money, and favours called in.
Effectively a hugely expensive carry on to create a dishonest impression of ordinary off the shelf clothing. Pah!
2. Memory Man speech. "Without notes" was the positioning. Not quite true. But that's what was briefed. And that was what was reported. In fact it was rote learning and "Without content". Pah!
3. Last conference speech. Two big anecdotes. A. Conceit: Man from Pontypool twists ankle and is forced to stop seeking work. Reality: Man has FIVE major life-changing health conditions and is actually trying to get himself onto a higher level of benefits. Pah!
4. Anecdote B. Tragic murder-suicide is used by Cameron as evidence of broken Britain. What a cynical and negative meme this is.
But also what a very very bad example. Bad politics. Every body with oversight of these matters in this area = TORY.
Every Council, Police Authority, PCTs and HTs. Immediate ward councillors = Lib Dems. These sad events do happen. Perhaps no one could have done anything. But a terrible kinda nasty choice to use this story.
5. General tone and nature of personal attacks on Brown's character and behaviour and performance as a leader. Now driving votes for Brown and Labour as it goes. Absolutely pathetic. Absolutely nasty. Horrible. Has to be coming from Cameron-Hilton-Coulson. They have made Brown into the underdog and Britain is soft on underdogs.
6. And finally. The utter farce of Mrs Pratt and the impossibly bad charity set up. This isn't just random happenstance. This is an obviously Tory family business, charity and decision to leap in. Cameron endorsement.
Widdy patron. Office neighbours. No Trustees to speak of - they all left 2 years ago. Terrible reputation.
Yet the Coulson-Hilton-Cameron axis of twaddle (a) dreamt this NBH attack up up OR (b) agreed when proposed OR (c) allowed/encouraged once it happened. Quite gleeful at first. As were the conbloggers and contweeters.
There is a pattern of nastiness here. Perhaps George (Osborne) has a hand in it too? But whoever it is working alongside Coulson-Hilton-Cameron it's just horrible. Really horrible.
Which brings us right back to Cameron hiring these guys and their baggage. Why would he do that? Have they been effective? Nope. Well, you know, they got Murdoch (even more) on side. Though he still has time to change sides for The Sun. Any other progress? Nope. Nasty streak. Absolutely.
By their work shall you know them.
To the above right is the current shadow cabinet line up. Some *weird* pictures will greet a click to enlarge. Look at Fox! And Gove! Airbrush central office. And more. And Grayling is still there. TENTH in the pecking order.
UPDATE Sat 18:13: There's been further evidence today of the Coulson-Hilton-Cameron-Osborne axis-of-aggro getting carried away. The Guardian report that Coulson spiked positive Tory lines post Pratt-Gate, anticipating a feeding frenzy. There was one. But it was largely Coulson's Pratt-fall dummy getting chomped.